Antz From A To Z
The origin of "Antz" actually dates back to a brainstorming session within PDI's Character Animation Group in 1991
The origin of "Antz" actually dates back to a brainstorming
session within PDI's Character Animation Group in 1991. Tim Johnson
and his fellow animators had an idea for a completely computer
animated film featuring insect characters in a miniature world.
Over the next few years, Johnson developed the project, which
went through various incarnations under the title 'Lights Out."
In November 1995, Johnson pitched the idea to DreamWorks' Penney
Finkelman Cox and Sandra Rabins. In a kind of synchronicity, he
learned that then DreamWorks executive Nina Jacobson had been
developing an idea for a film that would take audiences into the
realm of an ant colony called, appropriately, "Ants."
In March of 1996, the film industry's newest studio, DreamWorks
5KG, announced that it had joined forces with a proven leader
in the field of computer animation and visual effects, PDI, to
produce computer animated feature films. "Antz" marks
the first product of that joint venture.
DreamWorks principal Jeffrey Katzenberg says, "PDI has been
a vanguard in the field of computer animation for years, and they
brought the genre to new levels with 'Antz.' It would have been
impossible to make this film without the creative and technological
contributions they made, and everyone at DreamWorks was thrilled
with the spirit of collaboration and exploration we enjoyed throughout
President of PDI and "Antz" executive producer Carl
Rosendahl states, "Creating computer animated feature films
is what PDI has been working towards for almost 20 years. We could
not have found a better partner than DreamWorks to help us bring
that goal to fruition. The sharing of mutual interests and objectives
that resulted in this alliance is the kind that comes along rarely."
"To be able to combine our experience doing creative work
on the computer with what they bring in the way of long-format
entertainment made for the perfect partnership," director
Eric Darnell adds.
Producer Patty Wooton agrees, "There was a lot of interaction
between PDI and DreamWorks throughout the project. Penney Finkelman
Cox and Sandra Rabins were actively involved with us at every
step, as was Jeffrey, which is great because he has an incredible
passion for animation."
"Antz"--only the second fully computer animated feature
ever to be produced-may focus on the tiniest of creatures, but
it represents a giant leap forward in the genre. Utilizing in-house
proprietary software created by PDI, the film breaks new ground
in such traditionally challenging areas as facial animation, crowd
sequences and water simulation effects. The subject matter also
offered a number of new challenges in presenting the world from
"This is a film from the ant's perspective, so we tried to
visualize the world from their level," director Tim Johnson
says. "Even the most common things that you could imagine
change dramatically when you get down to an ant's point of view.
It's not about how small our world is, it's about how big theirs
Darnell expounds, "Computers are still an incredibly untapped
resource for artistic expression, and computer animation as a
genre has only just begun to be explored on the big screen. We're
not trying to duplicate reality or to copy traditional two-dimensional
animation. The computer permits the characters and the camera
to move in three-dimensional space, which allows the viewer to
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